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Rajasthan Royals beat Kings XI Punjab by 15 runs to stay alive
Those who are conversant with the altercation said Preity approached Sehwag even before the players had retired to the change rooms after the match and questioned him about the ‘tactics’ used during the game.
“Against Rajasthan Royals, skipper Ravichandran Ashwin was sent in at number three, ahead of more accomplished batsmen such as Karun Nair and Manoj Tiwari. The move backfired as Ashwin fell for a duck, and Preity launched into Sehwag for the decision,” a source told Mirror.
The source said Sehwag initially played it cool. “However, when Preity continued to blame him, saying ‘unnecessary’ tinkering with the playing XI had led to a spate of defeats, Sehwag tried to reason with her,” the source said.
Mirror has learnt that this is not the first time that Sehwag – who has 8,586 runs in 104 Tests with two triple hundreds to his name – has had a problem because of Preity “interfering” in his job.
“Viru had told the other owners to rein in Preity. He told the owners that he’ll not comment on Preity’s acting chops and she should refrain from talking about his cricketing acumen,” a franchise source said.
This correspondent called up Sehwag, who did not respond. Those close to Sehwag told Mirror that he kept his cool and is not commenting because he doesn’t want to the players to lose their focus, especially when they have a chance to qualify for the play-offs. When this newspaper sent him a message asking whether he was denying the incident, he chose not to respond.
Preity too did not respond to calls and messages but a few people connected to the franchise played down the incident, calling it a “routine post-match conversation between the owner and the team mentor”. They however conceded she was “upset” with the result.
When contacted, co-owner Mohit Burman said he was not present at the venue. “But as far as I know, there is no problem. I have spoken to Viru and Preity,” he said.
Sehwag was roped in by Kings XI in 2017, when he opened the batting for the franchise. This year, as the team’s mentor, he played a key role in the auctions, roping in Ashwin and Chris Gayle. Kings XI are regarded as one of the underachieving franchises in the IPL, having never won the tournament.
Ironically, things are looking bright for the team this year, with Kings XI currently placed third on the points table and looking well placed to quality for the playoffs. “Preity was frustrated that the team had lost three out of their last four games. But then, she picked the wrong person to vent out on,” the eyewitness said.
This is not the first time that Kings XI coaching staff had to fend off Preity’s verbal lashings. This newspaper had reported in 2016 how the then coach, Sanjay Bangar, was threatened with sacking by Zinta after a string of failures. On that occasion, after denying the incident, Preity took to social media to vent her anger.
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